The first versions of PastPages had only one user: Me. So I printed all the timestamps in Los Angeles time, since that’s where I live.
Now that approximately 50 percent of PastPages visitors come from outside the United States, that doesn’t make sense anymore.
In response, I’ve tried to globalize how the site reports the time.
Where appropriate, the site now prints a relative timestamp that will be correct wherever it’s viewed. For example, the homepage now reports:
In other locations, the site now presents a default timestamp in the Coordinated Universal Time, also known as UTC or Greenwich Mean Time. It’s the international standard for this sort of thing. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s roughly the current time in London, though it does not change in the summer for daylight saving time.
This may prove a little awkward at first, especially for U.S. users accustomed to the Internet catering to our vantage on the world. But I’ve tried to make it a little easier to swallow by also providing a publication’s local time, where appropriate.
You can see this on site detail pages:
And on screenshot detail pages:
Also, wherever screenshots are grouped by date, the beginning and end of that day is now midnight in UTC time. This seems like the slipperiest thing to me, and I’d be interested to hear opinions on the best way to present that. Should these also be grouped by a publication’s local time?
This is new ground for me as a developer, so there’s a good chance I’ve overlooked a better solution or created a new problem. But I want to get this right, so if you have advice please contact me or file a bug report on GitHub.